Out Now! (Chrysalis, 1985)

Out Now

Out Now r

Chrysalis and MCA entered the compilation ring in May 1985 with the release of Out Now! It was a 28 track double LP which emerged one month after the second Hits collection. It’s a worthy chapter in this ongoing story and features a decent collection of spring hits with a sprinkling of top 75 scrapers.

We get two gold medallists; Paul Hardcastle’s 19 was a shoe-in given that it was a Chrysalis release while Phyllis Nelson’s slow-burner Move Closer is still a slow-set slayer almost 30 years on. Two more top 3 hits were Tears For Fears’ grandiose Everybody Wants To Rule The World and Bronski Beat’s inventive fourth single I Feel Love. Getting in on the soundtrack action was Glenn Frey’s The Heat Is On from Beverly Hills Cop while I still dig Go West’s overwrought We Close Our Eyes.

The first record contains the more serious muscle. There’s a four track sequence of red-blooded lust – David Grant and Jaki Graham’s ostensibly sweet Could It Be I’m Falling In Love which is followed by the smooth yet firm Do What You Do from Jermaine Jackson and the Ziploc Kool funk of Fresh before some le grind [Move Closer]. The zombie song that cannot die ends side 1 – Love Is A Battlefield which already got savoured by the wolf on Hungry For Hits.

It’s the leftfield choices that really make Out Now! worth a purchase. There’s the uplifting optimism from Terry Hall and The Colour Field [Thinking Of You] along with unexpected rockabilly from Kim Wilde [Rage To Love] and Killing Joke’s haunting Love Like Blood. You also get The Damned in full-on goth mode and Tom Petty’s acid-tinged wonderland paean Don’t Come Around Here No More.

Nik Kershaw’s unstoppable run of singles-on-various-artists-compilation-albums continues with the oddball jigs and reels of The Riddle. To this day I still don’t know what he’s on about. Curiouser and curiouser as April’s Hits 2 included Wide Boy which was released after The Riddle.
Near a tree by a river / there’s a hole in the ground / where an old Man of Aran / goes around and around.

Another late 1984 chart entry Lay Your Hands On Me [The Thompson Twins’ lead-in single from their fourth album Here’s To Future Days] is also included here. Words just vanished in the haze. Bonus ethereal points to David Cassidy for the mesmerising Last Kiss. Equally affecting are Sal Solo’s #52 smash Music And You and Change’s soothing Let’s Go Together.

The eclectic nature of Out Now! is best exemplified by the following quartet:
Billy Bragg’s Between The Wars – austere and cutting. Respect to the miners.
Godley and Crème’s Cry. Ageless heartache for the under-age boozer in me.
New Edition’s Cool It Now. Teenage party jam!
The Kane Gang’s Gun Law. Mysteriously bombed. Ended up in Miami Vice.

Favourite tracks
Thompson Twins – Lay Your Hands On Me

Kim Wilde – Rage To Love

The Colour Field – Thinking Of You

Killing Joke – Love Like Blood

Lest we forget
Nik Kershaw – The Riddle

Missing tracks and other thoughts
So what about these gems?

Smiley Culture – Police Officer. Endlessly entertaining. May not have slotted into a Hits or Now but would have hit the mark here.
Toy Dolls – Nellie The Elephant. Novelty punk with a grotesque spindly singer. Deserves to be remembered.
King – Won’t You Hold My Hand Now. Thoughtful and introspective follow-up to Love and Pride.
Sheila E – The Belle Of Saint Mark. This is the bomb; often aired post-midnight on RTE Radio 2. A song from under the sheets.

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16 Responses to Out Now! (Chrysalis, 1985)

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  8. Matt Hayes says:

    I just got this on cassette and it was a surprisingly pleasant listen. Particularly tape 1. Tape 2 was a bit iffy. Also, the audio quality was excellent, which also surprised me for a) a compilation album, and b) a 33-year-old cassette tape. Too bad they only made two albums in this series. I can’t imagine it would have been a serious rival to Now or Hits but, with a little longevity, who knows?

    • nlgbbbblth says:

      It inhabits the twilight zone between Hits 2 and Now 5 and did well off the back of that. The second volume was a harder sell and I think they just gave up then – must have become too difficult to licence the tracks they wanted. We could have done with Out Now 3 around May 1986 – Now 7 had a long lead-in time and quite a bit of stuff was missed.

      • Matt Hayes says:

        I have since picked up both Out Now!! and Out Now!! 2 on vinyl and they are very enjoyable listens. The first album is much better than the second but 2 does have some good stuff. As you’ve previously indicated, sometimes the obscure tracks can be the most interesting too. I have to assume that their sales weren’t great because, if they were, surely a third edition would have been commissioned.

  9. Martin Davis says:

    I got this tape early on in 2016. Had spent nearly two years doing an apprenticeship and was preparing to have an interview for a permanent position. In the end I was successful. I particularly enjoyed the second cassette (especially Grimly Fiendish) and remember listening to it a lot in the run up to that interview as I was doing the preparation work for it ( via my Ipod as I transferred the album almost straight away).

    I always thought Billy Bragg wrote “Between The Wars” (possibly as a protest against the Thatcher government) but around Christmas 2016 I heard an older version of the track and was told it was a folk song.

    Am pretty sure that on the cassette the Billy Bragg track is on Side 3 after The Damned. Presumably swapped round to save tape or make the two sides more equal, something which Now and Hits compilations definatley never did.

  10. Rumpy-Pumpy says:

    I had this at the time. Obv highlights are Killing Joke, Los Lobos in rockabilly-blues mode, the Kane Gang, and The Colourfield’s one true hit – it has Terry sharing vocals with that same Yorkshire-accented Katrina who went on to front Skeletal Family for their lovely last two EPs of the decade,
    But – surprised you didnt mention Alvin Stardust’s hilariously bad Got A Little Heartache (sounds like a Shakin Stevens reject, and who wrote it? Lyle & Britten, the men behind Whats Love Got To Do With It. How the mighty were fallen).
    Kim Wilde was always going to make a rockabilly single eventually – it runs in the family (and, oh look at that, her dad co-wrote the song). And eventually Sal Solo was always going to make a nagging Eurovision-ish record with the London Community Gospel Choir.
    Finally, Grimly Fiendish is not “full on goth” – it’s a borrowed Who riff filtered into a Madness pastiche, plus hilariously good trumpet outro. (Side 1 of Phatasmagoria – that’s yer actual goth)

    • nlgbbbblth says:

      Hi, this is a very early review – the ones in 2014 were quite skimpy compared to the near essays of now. Cheers – never realised the What’s Love Got To Do With It connection. Fair point on Grimly Fiendish; it’s the videos and posters of that 1985 time that make the whole Damned experience seem like a goth overload…..

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